Zenfolio | Bruce Fellman | Faux nightmare

Faux nightmare

July 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The Lace-cap Hydrangeas have started to open and put on their annual show. In addition to a fine collection of bumblebees, the flower clusters always attract an amazingly diverse collection of Long-horned Beetles, most of whom, by now—we've had the Lace-cap for more than a dozen years—are old friends, even if, every July when the display debuts, I have to look up their names. That was today's task, as I was deep into observing and photographing the insect traffic... and then I came up short. On one of the flower clusters was a critter that appeared to be a Bald-faced Hornet, a large and fierce wasp with a bad reputation on account of its hair-trigger temper and tendency to sting almost without provocation. I backed off quickly, but as I watched it and took a few pictures, I noticed something. This was no wasp, but, rather, one of the most amazing mimics in creation. It's a Flower Fly, or Syrphid—many of this fly group resemble bees and wasps—and it's known as Spilomyia fusca. There's no common name, but "Bald-faced Lie of a Fly" might work.


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